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GreenCast in UK and Ireland - Rescue on course to restore the fescue at St Andrews

Product Update
16.09.2009

The world's first commercial supplies of the revolutionary new Syngenta herbicide for turf, Rescue, have arrived in the UK, with the first bottles delivered straight to St Andrews Links, the Home of Golf. The innovative new selective herbicide is destined to help remove invasive weed Ryegrass and enhance the desirable fine Fescue grasses that were sown on the recently completed Castle Course. 

St Andrews Links Trust was actively involved with the successful registration trials for Rescue, which received full approval for use on greens, tees, fairways and rough areas of golf courses in July this year.

Gordon Moir, Director of Green keeping at the Trust (right), reports invasive Ryegrass spoils the visual appearance and the playing quality of Fescue turf surfaces on many links golf courses. "Our experience from the trials is that we now have an opportunity to effectively remove Ryegrass and other coarse grasses faster and more cost effectively than traditional cultural practices, without any disruption in play.  

"The combination of our existing management practices, including over seeding and divot replacement with desirable Fescue species, along with targeted applications of Rescue where required, should enable us to prepare and maintain a better playing surface."   

Allan Patterson, Course Manager at The Castle Course (pictured, top), highlighted that with the course's construction on 220 acres of former farmland there is a natural seed bank of agricultural Ryegrasses that are quick to colonise any opening from divots or damage to the sown Fescue surface.   "The initial establishment and grow-in of the Fescue surfaces has been exceptional," he reports, "but the clumpy nature of invasive Ryegrass affects the consistency and quality of the required playing surface and creates unsightly, stalky patches on fairways. We are looking at the targeted use of Rescue to help restore the proportion of Fescue."   

The Castle Course has been designed with the Scottish links tradition very much in mind. Also in the Scottish tradition, the grasses being cultivated at the site are a Bent and Fescue mix. Fescues will also feature strongly in the extensive areas of natural rough and wild meadow which will provide a variety of habitats for wildlife, including the very rare Maiden Pink species of wild dianthus.   

The construction of The Castle Course has been a model development, with full consideration given to environmental factors in its ongoing maintenance. It has already been voted the International Development of the Year by Golf Inc. and best New Course of the Year by Travel & Leisure Golf. 

Syngenta UK Turf Manager, Simon Elsworth, highlights that Rescue now solves the previously intractable problem of invasive Ryegrass, which can ruin the consistent playability of fine turf greens and the visual appearance of fairways. "Rescue is an entirely new class of selective herbicide chemistry for the turf sector, with UK golf course managers the first in the World to be able to use it," he adds. 

"The reception and interest we have already received from the golf industry clearly highlights the desperate need for weed Ryegrass control, to improve turf quality on greens and fairways," reports Mr Elsworth. "Further discussion with course managers has highlighted the beneficial potential to create thinner, more manageable roughs, which will make ball location easier and help to speed up play."   

Gordon Moir takes delivery of the first Rescue from Simon Elsworth (left) and Gary Smith of Scotts Professional.

The experience of on-course trials by green keepers and course managers has identified the best and most reliable control can be achieved starting the Rescue Programme in the autumn, typically in September to October. An autumn application rate of 1.0 l/ha targets actively growing weed grasses and still gives time for over sown seedlings to establish. 

Rescue can be applied by conventional golf course sprayers, pedestrian sprayers or knapsack. There is no need for any restriction or interruption in play on the golf course following application. For the rapid restoration of playing surfaces, over sowing three to five weeks after treatment is recommended to fill any gaps left by Ryegrass removal.   

To help turf managers get the best possible results with the Rescue Programme, Syngenta has produced a range of support tools and information. Full details and information are available on the dedicated Rescue Resouces Page on the GreenCast web site.